The last time the USA won the Motocross des Nations was in 2011 in France. The year before the MXDN was held in Lakewood, Colorado. The high elevation and hard pack track of Lakewood, Colorado, was the stage for racing that September. The dream team was Ryan Dungey, Trey Canard and Andrew Short. The MXDN teams often feature a good blend of past, present and future, and this was a good example of that. Andrew Short was the local and the seasoned veteran. Ryan Dungey was fresh off his first 450 Championship. Trey Canard was the young rider of the group and had just won the 250 National Championship.
Many things make the MXDN unique. Riders compete as part of an actual team–despite usually riding for different brands–instead of individual efforts under the same tent and sponsors. The MXDN also brings the best racers from around the world to compete on the same track in the same conditions over the same two days. As one of the oldest true motocross events, the Motocross des Nations has a level of prestige not found in many parts of the sport. Unfortunately, in recent years other events have crept into U.S. riders’ schedules and many have shied away from racing it.
Qualifying was on Saturday. Italy’s Tony Cairoli would run away and win the 450 qualifying race, while Ryan Dungey would settle for fourth in the 450 class. The 250 class was more competitive. Trey Canard would have to battle Germany’s Ken Roczen. After a mistake by Roczen, Canard was able to win the 250 qualifier by a narrow margin. Not far behind was “Puerto Rico’s” Zach Osborne, who was eager to jump on any mistake by either rider. The final qualifier went similar to the first…with one exception. Team USA got the holeshot. Andrew Short took the lead and ran away with the race. Two out of three qualifying wins put Team USA in a good position entering Sunday’s main events.
The combined 250/450 moto kicked things off on Sunday. On the gate were USA’s Trey Canard and Ryan Dungey. Jonathan Barragan of Spain would steal the holeshot, but Dungey was quick to reel him in. It wasn’t long before he found out that he was being reeled in by someone as well, Tony Cairoli. This was the race where the 2010 450 World Champion would duke it out with the 2010 Supercross/National Champion. The anticipation fizzled as Dungey pulled away to take the win. Where was Trey Canard? He got tangled with Zach Osborne on the start and had to settle for 12th.
In the 250/Open moto Andrew Short grabbed the holeshot. Trey Canard would go down while trying to redeem himself, and eventually finish seventh. Ken Roczen would catch and pass Andrew Short, but he would crash shortly after. New Zealand’s Ben Townley would ultimately take the win. Andrew Short came back with fire in the third race, the 450/Open combined moto. He nabbed the holeshot, and right behind him was his Team USA teammate, Ryan Dungey. Dungey would eventually overtake Shorty for the lead. Their biggest challenger, Ben Townley, would crash out mid-race, leaving the field wide open. USA would win on home soil.